Failing School Finance in the West: A Continental Divide

By Rebecca Wittenstein — March 11, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The allocation of dollars for education is one of the most important responsibilities of state and local governments. In Quality Counts 2008, the EPE Research Center examines and grades states on education finance. The results illuminate an interesting regional pattern. This stat of the week takes a closer look at this pattern.

The EPE Research Center grades states on two aspects of school finance: spending and equity. While spending quantifies how much school districts and states are spending per pupil, equity measures how uniformly resources are allocated among disparate student populations. Each of the states with the lowest overall finance grades (Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington) received a D-minus or a failing mark in the category of spending. While the west is not the only region to fare poorly on spending measures, the states in the southeast, which also fared poorly in the spending subcategory, boosted their finance grades with high rankings in equity. The western states scored around the national average on equity, so their scores in this category were not high enough to bring up their overall school finance grades.

State Grades on School Finance


Because school finance policies in each state are developed independently, it is notable that the lowest ranking states in the category are all concentrated to the west of the Rocky Mountains. With the exception of Oregon, no state in the western region received a grade higher than D-plus.

For more state-by-state information about school finance policies, please see the EPE Research Center’s Education Counts database and our School Finance topics page for the latest news on school finance.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)